I have recently received this question from a couple of my students and I think it comes up often enough that I would share with the group. In my experience, there are two categories of tournament golfers. One group plays better in tournaments than practice and the other group plays better in practice than tournaments.
This discussion will be for group number two. The main reason that I see is that in tournaments, the player plays differently than they play in practice. Most, not all, of the players I’m referring to play more aggressive in practice than they do in tournaments. They seem to always second guess their decisions and try to play “smart”. They approach similar situations so differently that their practice is so far removed from how they actually play.
The only thing this accomplishes is that it creates indecision and frustration. Make your decision and go with it. Trust your gut and be yourself.
There area also those people that don’t trust thier swing when they get in tournaments. This is very common. Learning how to let go is a scary proposition. It is usually just mind over matter. Telling yourself that your swing is good enough and to let it just happen while being prepared to accept the results is the key to overcoming this fear. Just like in practice, there is a sense of not caring about the result because it doesn’t mean anything. This is actually the same mind frame you want for tournaments. Not caring is a mental freedom that lets your athleticism come out and play its role.